Thursday, January 24, 2013

The training of Health MInister Fleming...

.... I had a dog like that once - jumped up on people, barked at terrirfied children, stuck his nose iin people's plates at dinner, left little piles all over the house....But I took him to the SPCA for dog training; and he came out of it a new dog.

And so, today's Moncton Times and Transcript (C3) marks the debut of the new and trained Health Minister Flemming. There's a big picture of him wearing a shirt that fits and a tie that's properly tightened. He even has something resembling a smile on his face - though that still needs work. In a story below it, he says nice things about doctors of NB who are, "...among the best in North America." He gives every sign of being a much nicer dog.
Too bad the editorial writer messes it up. What he/she does is to ruin the minister's new image by defending his over-the-top, rude, bullying and generally bad-dog behaviour before he got his SPCA training.

Hey, editorialist, he's a new man. Give him a chance.
A major story in Section A is to be found on p.2 in which our provincial Finance Minister goes about the province advising citizens that the provincial budget is the key to balancing the books. Well, duh, yeah.And having a spare is the key to changing a tire.  If that's as deep as his economic insight goes, I'm afraid a few sessions at the SPCA wouldn't be enough.
Alec Bruce has an important column - well worth a serious read.In NB, politicians always sem to be looking for projects with a quick pay-off. Mr. Bruce takes the longer view for, in that longer view, is a much bigger payoff,and a better society.

Norbert has returned to a one topic format - and his column is much better   for it. Mind you, it would have been better still if he'd done just a little more research to provide contacts for his readers who want to get involved in the projects he advocates..

There's a cute editorial cartoon by de Adder - and not just cute.

Letters to the Editor have been quite readably lately -and today is one of the best. And now a step back to op ed.

Jody Dallaire, as always, produces a solid column, this time on past activists in the cause of women's rights. I could wish she had gone back just a little further to women like Letitia Youmans. These women faced a male world that was very hostile indeed. But these women came out swinging. They didn't demand rights because they were equal. Nossir (or noma'am - sorry for that sexist lapse). Their one-two punch was 1. Women were morally superior to men and 2. Their moral superiority made them more competent. In everything. KO.

We'll have to discuss that some time.

Rod Allen is more serious than usual. Not much. But more. Essentially, it's the Moncton theme that government exists to make quick money for Moncton business. Funny how business so often says government is incompetent, and should be as small as possible - but always expects help from government (for itself.) So guess where big government comes from.

The story that should have been the big one of the day was, instead, the one that was long but conveyed almost no meaning, the one that desperately needed an opinion piece on the op ed, but that didn't get any of those, was a story about the "biggest threat to world peace", a threat that has led to a war "that will last for decades", and that "could decide the whole future of the world", gets only a news report that conveys nothing. As well, the news report is full of bizarre and obvious contradictions - about the war in Mali.

(Who cares about Mali? What does it have to do with us? Nothing. And everything.)

This is why it always annoys me to see staffwriters wasing op ed space on trivia.

For a start, we have to begin by understanding that no country goes to war to save democracy or helping little girls go to school or toppling cruel dictators. One of the world's cruelest dictators (and most ardent of fundamentalist Moslems) is our good ol' buddy, the king of Saudi Arabia. The US has, as well, long supported some terribly cruel dictators throughout Central America while overthrowing democracies..

If we were so anxious to help little girls go to school, we could have done it in Haiti where the need is just as great as Afghanistan. And we wouldn't have to fight a trillion dollar war and kill thousands of people to do it. What Canada did instead was to fight the war without helping anybody, and then cut aid to Haiti.

War for democracy? Come off it. If the US fought wars to save democracy, it would have entered World War 2 more than two years earlier than it did.

Wars are fought for the self-interest of whoever has real power in a country. That interest might be economic or strategic. The wars of the last dozen years were planned years before 9/11, It's all laid out in a site on the web "Project for the New American Century" It is a plan for world domination for the benefit of the nation's leading businessmen. Many of the people who wrote it were later in the Bush White House. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan followed that plan. Obama is still following it.

But you need an excuse to sell the general population on the war. In that sense, 9/11 was a gift. It set off a wave of fear that has carried us into war after war against terrorism (as though we have never done such a thing), and against Islam. And, in the process, it has had what should have been predictable. It has strenghtened Moslem resistance against western controls that have been imposed on them for over a century.

And it has provided us with an excuse to attack Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and now Mali, and to supply money and weapons and mercenaries for what it pleases our press to call a civil war in Syria

The British prime minister has launched special ops forces over the Sahara region to kill terrorists in a war he says will take decades. According to him and to American political sources, Moslem power in Africa is the greatest threat to world peace. This is a Britain, incidentally, which got kicked out of most of Africa after World War 2.

In the face of this "greatest threat to world peace", the lead is being taken by France - a country which has not taken such a move in the over fifty years since it had it's butt kicked in Vietnam and Algeria and Mali - and all the rest of its old empire. It is also fighting in Mali in defence of a government that is a military dictatorship.

Mali? Libya? Somali? Yemen? There are the great threats to world peace? None has any navy to speak of. None has enough of an air force to provide a half decent show for a country fair.

The US has enough nuclear bombs to destroy the world many times over. So has Russia. Then there are the stockpiles in India, Pakistan, China, Britain, France and Israel. The US spends more on military gear than all other countries in the world, has far the biggest navy and air force in the world, a vast army of mercenaries in addition to its regulars.

The American navy is being redployed to the Pacific to hem in China. China has just bought a large fleet of long-range bombers to deal with the US navy.

And the greatest threats to world peace are a group of countries that are among the poorest and least industrialized in the world?

And the lead is being taken by those fading dance-hall queens, Britain and France?

If this is so serious, why is Harper (grudgingly) lending them just one air transport, and that for only a week?

Why has Obama shown a similar lack of concern? Try this.

Mali was a French colony. France did very well out of that resource-rich country, pulling out billions of dollars with the help of a labour force made up of people who were close to slaves - and spilling pollution over the country without concern.

Mali still has strong resources - including gold.

Mali also has uranium, probably a great deal of it. France depends on nuclear reactors for much of its energy.

France also used to own Syria. France is now an important supporter of the Syrian rebels.

Britain once made huge fortunes out of its African colonies.

Religions and threats to world peace have nothing to do with the darkness closing in on Africa. We are going back to the brutal, pillaging days of a century and more ago, to the reconquest and re-enslaving of Africa. So is Obama. Without fanfare, he has distributed troops and CIA all over Africa. And there is every possibility that Russia and China will be nosing in.

Yes. It will take decades, probably generations, of war and death and starvation and poverty, and the risk of a general war.. And, however reluctant Harper might be, Canada will get sucked into it.

A war against terrorists? Moslems got nothing on us when it comes to widespread murder and terrorism.

A war against 'extreme' Islam? Our wars have are what have created 'extreme' Islam.

Anyway, Islam of any sort has nothing to do with it. We'd be sending in the drones and the assassination squads even if they were 'extreme' Baptists.

Any editor at the Moncton Times and Transcript could have written such an op ed page just by noticing the oddities in the reporting (such as Canada declining to play much of a role in this war  against "the greatest threat to world peace.") - and just by using a bit of common sense.

What we get instead (usually) on the op ed page are no-brainers about rock shows on Magnetic Hill, and trivialities like "What I did last summer".

The TandT has no connection with any reality. And I guess that's the way Mr. Irving likes it - with us all in the dark. It makes life easier for him.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) Health Minister Flemming has been given the mandate to bring the health spending per capita in line with what is being spent in the other provinces. Keeping in mind that we are the only province in Canada that maintains 2 complete, and separate, health systems I am left wondering just how he is going to accomplish this? Either one will have to go, or I would expect service to get so bad, due to spending cuts, we would almost do better without.
    Good luck New Brunswick.